Appalachian Trail Gear Review for 2021 Thru-hike

2021 Gear

Most of my gear to be consolidated into the red pack.

Gear Review for 2021

With all the gear I have accumulated over the last nine months, it made sense to me to do an Appalachian Trail gear review for my 2021 thru-hike. I’m about to embark on my first ever thru-hike on March 13, 2021. It’s as exciting as it is terrifying. I’m sure I have way too much gear. It currently resides on the stairs in my house. Slowly, it is being organized. I made a post of my top ten gear items in this spot. Here is my Appalachain Trail gear review for my 2021 thru-hike.

My Big Three Appalachian Trail Gear Review for 2021

I have gotten most of my gear from REI, Amazon, and Cabela’s. I have a Lighter Pack link you can check out. Of course, I have added more since I made that list. Is gear addiction a thing? Because I feel like I have it. I have a lot of stuff I probably won’t be bringing on my thru-hike, but I will probably use it on a weekend or overnight hike. I am itching to have a nice little campfire going. From what I have read, that doesn’t happen much on a thru-hike – kind of a bummer. But I will have a good four to six months on the trail. I am sure I can squeeze one or two campfires in there.


I went with the REI Co-op Quarter Dome SL 1 Tent which is no longer available, so I feel like I lucked out. It was about $300 and it is easy to set up. There is a lot of room in it for me and my gear. I had some anxiety about where to put my gear when I am sleeping in my tent, but there is a decent size vestibule, and if I am not comfortable with that, plenty of room at the base of my feet inside the tent.


I chose the Osprey Aura AG 65 Pack – Women’s also from REI. I like REI because they have a no-hassle return policy and I love their garage sale. The salesperson helped me get fitted for my pack which I recommend. They weighted the bag down for me and I walked around the store for a while. My pack has great back support and enough room/pockets/slots for all my basics and extras. There are straps on the bottom of the pack for my tent. A lot of people strap their sleeping pad there, but my pad is inflatable. I am trying to utilize the pack space I have, as well as the pockets. Note: the hip pockets are not in a practical location for easy access. That is the one thing about this pack that is disappointing. I wanted to have a spot to hold my lip balm, my phone, and maybe a couple of snacks.

Sleeping Bag

There are two sleeping bags in my house, and they were both purchased with me in mind. However, the one coming with me is the Kelty Cosmic 40 DriDown Sleeping Bag. The other bag was a lot cheaper, but also a lot heavier. I tested it in the house, not yet outside. The Kelty is warm, long enough for me (I am 5’10”), and has a nifty little pocket for my phone.


My extras include but aren’t limited to: a cooking pot, Sawyer Squeeze, journal, water sanitizing pen, GoPro or Camera (haven’t decided yet – I recently purchased an iPhone. I am told that’s all I need), five pair of underwear (they weigh an ounce each, super light), Kulu cloth, thick fuzzy sleep socks). I also purchased a CotoPaxi fanny pack which solved my hip pockets dilemma. They are all one of a kind – check them out. Lots of storage and small inner pockets for optimal use. It holds all the extras that my hip pockets cannot.

We joked about me sleeping on the back deck in my tent and bag. It is still a possibility. As far as my gear, I have packed and unpacked my bag numerous times. Once I get it the way I want it for optimized hiking, I need to write it down (that’s a whole other post – short term memory loss). I am sure there are items I will put in some hiker boxes along the way!

By the way, don’t forget to follow my adventure on my YouTube Channel as well: Sober in Nature.

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